• Sy, JV, Imee on ‘Panama Papers’ list

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    THE country’s richest man, Henry Sy, Sen. Jose Victor “JV” Ejercito, Ilocos Sur Gov. Imee Marcos and hundreds of other rich Filipinos were in the list of people with offshore holdings exposed by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ).

    Documents provided by Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca listed 572 Filipinos and “master clients” with offshore financial deals. The list included various companies and law offices.

    With a net worth of $12.9 billion, Sy, 91, was named by Forbes magazine as the Philippines’ richest. His wife Felicidad, daughter Teresita and son Hans were also on the “Panama Papers” list.

    Wealthy businessmen were also included, such as Andrew L. Tan, chairman of the board of Alliance Global Group that owns Megaworld and Emperador Distillery. Tan’s net worth was placed by Forbes at $5.1 billion.

    Also on the list are Andrew Tan Gotianun Jr., chairman and president of Pacific Sugar Holdings and founder of Filinvest Group of companies, and Robert Coyiuto Jr., chairman of the Coyuito Group of Companies. Companies such as Holcim Philippines Inc., Megaworld Corp., Nickel Asia Corp., Panay Electric Co. Inc. and the Kapunan, Lotilla Garcia and Castillo law offices were also listed.

    One of the biggest document leaks in history snared world leaders, celebrities and sports stars in a snowballing worldwide scandal over their secretive offshore financial dealings.

    A year-long worldwide media investigation of a trove of 11.5 million documents, leaked from the Panama-based law firm with offices in 35 countries, exposed a tangle of confidential financial dealings by the elite, from aides of Russian President Vladimir Putin to relatives of Chinese President Xi Jinping, sports celebrities and screen stars.

    The vast stash of records from Mossack Fonseca, the so-called Panama Papers, was obtained from an anonymous source by German daily Sueddeutsche Zeitung and shared with more than 100 media groups by the ICIJ.

    Offshore financial dealings are not illegal in themselves but may be abused to hide assets from tax authorities, launder the proceeds of criminal activities or conceal misappropriated or politically inconvenient wealth.

    Global probes
    Several countries have launched tax evasion probes of the murky offshore financial dealings of a slew of politicians and celebrities.

    Among others named in the “Panama Papers” are Iceland’s Prime Minister Sigmundur David Gunnlaugsson and Barcelona striker Lionel Messi.

    In Iceland’s capital Reykjavik, thousands took to the streets late Monday to demand the premier resign over allegations that he and his wife used an offshore firm to hide millions of dollars of investments.

    Australia has already launched an inquiry into 800 wealthy Mossack Fonseca clients.

    France and The Netherlands also announced investigations, while a judicial source said Spain had opened a money-laundering investigation of the law firm.

    Panama also pledged to launch probe to identify if any crimes have been committed and any financial damages should be awarded.

    President Juan Carlos Varela said Panama will cooperate with the international inquiries but also vowed to “defend the image of our country,” which has a reputation as a hub for under-the-table dealings.

    Messi’s family was swift to dismiss any suggestion he had been involved in shady activity, saying “accusations he created a… tax evasion plot, including a network of money-laundering, are false and insulting.”

    Messi has been charged with tax fraud in a separate case that is due to go to trial in Spain in May.

    ‘An attack on Panama’
    The papers, from around 214,000 offshore entities covering almost 40 years, also name the president of Ukraine and the king of Saudi Arabia.

    Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko denied any wrongdoing, but he may face an attempt to impeach him.

    French newspaper Le Monde cited documents showing that Syria used Mossack Fonseca to create shell companies to help it break international sanctions and fund its war effort.

    Pascal Saint-Amans, head of tax policy at the OECD, said the leaks showed Panama was among the world’s shadiest tax havens.

    “Switzerland is really making progress, so there is a concentration of problems in Panama,” he noted, referring to another popular offshore tax haven.

    More than 500 banks, their subsidiaries and branches have worked with Mossack Fonseca since the 1970s to help clients manage offshore companies.

    UBS set up more than 1,100 and HSBC and its affiliates created more than 2,300.

    The documents show “banks, law firms and other offshore players often fail to follow legal requirements to make sure clients are not involved in criminal enterprises, tax dodging or political corruption,” the ICIJ said.

    Mossack Fonseca is already subject to investigations in Germany and Brazil, where it is part of a huge money-laundering probe that has threatened to topple the current government.

    AFP

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    25 Comments

    1. Duterte for President on

      Duterte na tayo for President. Walang record ng corruption at walang pinoprotektahang personal na interest.

    2. Duterte for President on

      Duterte na tayo for President. Walang record ng corruption and walang pinoprotektahan na personal interest.

    3. Emee Marcos and family formerly live in Portugal in Sintra. That’s why she named it Sentra Trust. One of their household was a friend of mine. I live in Portugal, before emigrating here in Canada. Our government should follow up this Panama Papers. I am sure this is part of Marcos ill gotten wealth. The family sold their mansion in Sentra, Portugal worth millions of dollars and then moved to Singapore and then to the Philippines.

    4. I hear Geoff Andres COO of the City of Dreams has been implicated in the papers

    5. Reading through the comments above there are some who defend the people who are in the list. and I find it very disturbing. It is not for us readers to absolve or find them guilty, however, using one’s everyday life experience as an adult one can easily understand the kind of corruptions those elected officials like Marcos and Ejecito(Estrada) who do not have any riches prior to their elected positions can be in the list. Its no genius to comprehend those monies were stolen from the Filipino people. That simple.

    6. I always thought that the Chinese magnates and oligarch in our country hide their money somewhere and this explain why our country’s economy is lagging behind other countries in ASEAN. We are like Greece if not we are even worst. Now let’s see what our BIR, AMLC and senators have to do!! If not there will be revolt.

    7. election time who knows if this is article is created by the desperate candidates they included henry sy so that it looks credible

    8. Tax avoidance by itself can be legal. The problem is that as far as the Marcoses are concerned, the money that they “hid” and alleged to be assets of their shell companies are really not theirs.The money belongs to the Filipino people. The Marcoes, during their reign, especially during the Martial Law years, stole and appropriated as much of the country’s wealth as they could, and farmed out these assets to Swiss and South American banks, tax havens, etc., using shell companies and surrogates. This is the second time a leak of participants in “tax avoidance” schemes has taken place. Imee’s name and her shell company were named and included in that first leak. The BIR (tax department) should have investigated this tax lead at the time, but nothing happened. And now here we are again. I expect that, unlike the situation in other countries where the “tax evaders” are investigated, audited, prosecuted, fined and penalized, this second leak would again result in “no action” by the Philippine Government. No wonder it is more “fun” in the Philippines!

      • I second agree, it’s more fun in the Philippines, especially if you are a rich Chinese casino owner, corrupt politician, and even a war lord with a private paramilitary guards. It’s more fun in the Philippines because the criminal justice system, (i.e. criminal courts, prosecutor lawyers and judges) will not prosecute and trial you in a court of law, in other words, impunity! What do you think, Mrs. Imelda Marcos is a free woman, when she has more than a dozen litigation pending against her? Why do you think Erap is a free man, when he committed the crime of graft and corruption while president? Why do you think William Go and Kim Wong are free men, after they received laundered, illicit money from computer hackers?

    9. RW Guzman don’t blame the Chinese Ang blame mo yung Mga kurakot Na BIR! At Sa Mga administration! Lahat Naman ng bansa may corruption masahol LNG ung bansa Natin…. Overprice Na nga bulok pa mga proyekto! Tsaka Pwede Bago Ka maghusga Kung bat yumayaman Ang Iba Kasi ung Iba may Plano Sa buhay Nila ndi Yung Panay tira Ng tira! At ung Iba eh Kung mag breed kalamo Mga kuneho!

    10. Anti-Marcos Pinoy on

      The revelation of the multi-billion dollars money laundering scheme by Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca caused an earthquake for Iceland’s Prime Minister. After a brief large protest of its’ citizens, the prime minster resign from political power and he acknowledge the secret bank accounts without admitting guilt or breaking the law. But in the Philippines, when news broke out how the Marcoses embezzled and laundered ill gotten wealth in private Swiss bank accounts and Panamanian banks, they would not even acknowledge, they stole billions of dollars and hid it away in Swiss and Panamanian banks. Even if Ferdinand and Imelda Marcos were to under go lie detection test, they would lie to their teeth and deny any wrong doings, truly both are inveterate liars. No difference from the heir apparent, Marcos Jr. on admission of family guilt and criminal activity when his family was in power for more than 20 years, calling their regime the “golden age.” That is the difference between Iceland and the Philippine Islands.

      • Tandang Sora on

        Iceland Prime Minster resigns from disgrace after revelation of secret bank accounts. Philippine President Marcos clings to power, after revelation of secret bank accounts in Switzerland, Panama, etc. The Marcoses have no shame and claims no ill gotten wealth stashed in secret bank accounts despite evidence from PCGG and Swiss bank officials.

      • Even if they do not acknowledge. They are doomed!. And dawag ditto addict na sa pera.

    11. So what if they are on that list? Is it a crime to avoid taxes? Is it a crime to put up a shell company in a tax haven jurisdiction? Due to ignorance, most people equate having shelf companies to sleaze as if tax avoidance is a crime in itself.

      • Tax avoidance isn’t tax evasion and isn’t the issue. The issue is at least for politicians is the source of the funds and how did they earn those on a government salary, having divested control of family businesses and if these were declared in their statements of assets and liabilities. That is the issue.

    12. p.s.
      if i had the money,
      i would do the same thing;
      hide my hard-earned money from corrupt and greedy politicians;
      else,
      corrupt politicians will take my money and hide it somewhere too.

      moral lesson: love of money is the root of all evil.

      • Tandang Sora on

        If the moral lesson is, love of money is the root of all evil, then why did you write, “if I had the money, I would do the same thing; hide my hard-earned money from corrupt and greedy politicians. Corrupt politicians will take my money and hide it somewhere too. Alik, you just contradicted yourself!!
        If the moral lesson is love of money is the root of all evil, then do Not Hide your money, instead give it to the poor, just like Jesus Christ said, “sell all your possessions and give the money to the poor, then come follow me.”
        He also said, “Do not hoard, store, keep, earthly treasures, rather keep, store, deposit treasures in the Kingdom of Heaven.”

    13. opinionated pinoy on

      JV Ejercito do not have business lining up with Billionaires, such as Henry Sy. Imee Marcos should pass the qualifications of Billionaires because that is where the Marcos family deposited all those plundered money that belonged to the Filipino people. I will not be surprised if few of the Supreme Court, Appeals Court, Trial Court Justices names are on the list as well. If any Binays, Baloloy or limlingan names are on the lists, or any names associated with Binays, criminal charges of all shape and forms will be or shall be considered. The Ombudsman, COA, BIR, are keeping an eye on the development on this issue.

      J.V. Ejercito’s investment money probably belonged to his Father, Erap and some of the amount probably belonged to Jinggoy, his half brother, presently on vacation in Camp Crame.

    14. So Imee and JV Ejercito are in the list of depositors found in these Panama papers?

      Imee must have inherited the stolen money of her father- on her own how did she get this money?And for the Marcos family denying that they STOLE money from the government.

      And JV Ejercitto — again like father like son – also like Jinggoy who is now in jail .

      Let us get rid of these corrupt individuals. They don’t have any place in Philippine society. They should get out of their government positions.

      • Victor Martinez on

        Oh, be realistic. Your advise will only lead us to finding no one eligible to hold public office.

        Victor

      • Roselo Gamao on

        Allegation can be made by anyone but this will categorized as gossip until you prove it with proof of documents on hand. Can you prove your allegation about the stolen wealth you’ve mentioned about Marcos family? Its been 3 decades since Marcos ousted from his post and took over by the HOLY Family of AQUINO but did they proven their allegation?

        If you can prove that to me then I’ll drop my full support to BBM. No kidding, just show me your proof showing that the family stoles money from you!

    15. Mariano Patalinjug on

      Yonkers, New York
      05 April 2016

      Now the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists has opened a terribly smelly can of worms–and it is a big one, with worms of different nationalities, including reportedly hundreds of Filipino “worms,” led by Henry Sy, Senator Jose Victor ‘JV’ Ejercito and Ilocos Sur Governor Imee Marcos [who, you will recall, is a daughter of former Philippine Dictator Ferdinand E. Marcos who made it to the Guinness Book of World Records as The World’s No. 1 Kleptocrat among the world’s leaders of his time.]

      I can expect BIR chief Kim Henares to go through this list of hundreds of wealthy Filipinos who have all those hidden funds in tax shelters in Panama, and determine if these tax-cheats have to answer for TAX LIABILITIES on those hidden funds.

      The fact that they have hidden funds in Panama is indicative of a criminal intention to avoid payment of income taxes.

      MARIANO PATALINJUG
      patalinjugmar@gmail.com

    16. eduardo dizon on

      As I see all of those countries have started their investigation on their citizens included on this Panama papers. What about the Philippines officials under BSA will just stay oblivious and will not bother at all to investigate those listed for hiding their money to avoid paying taxes. I am pretty sure that this won’t happen and never in the history there were bigtime getting investigated at all. Sorry filipinos as they say rich don’t get prosecuted at all because they have good connections and protections from above.